If you’ve ever wondered “why is my Duration (opens in new tab) so short / tall / light / heavy? or “Why am I just So Tired all the time?” or even “Why do I feel fab one week and terrible the next?” – all of these questions are yours to answer. hormones (opens in new tab),
Hormones are “important chemical messengers”, say Vichy (opens in new tab) menopause specialist Dr Shehzadi Harper (opens in new tab)which travels through your bloodstream to organs and tissues and “can have a number of effects on our physical and emotional health and well-being.”
They tell you to eat when you are hungry. They get your blood pumping when you’re stressed, and at the end of the day, they tell you it’s time to sleep. “Hormones play an important role in controlling appetite, weight, and importantly, mood,” says Dr. Harper.
But, most importantly — well, for women anyway — they regulate our menstrual cycles (and gift us with fluctuating fluctuations). Yet hormones get so little airtime, so few of us really know how to use our monthly fluctuations to our advantage — and help us feel our best, along with our hormones. , instead of holding us back.
Harper’s to find out how learning more about your hormones—and tracking them—can help you improve your life.
Let’s start from the beginning – what’s happening to my hormones?
A quick reminder of how it all works… once your period starts and gets into a regular pattern, your hormones ebb and flow throughout the month. “Our hormonal levels fluctuate during our menstrual cycle, which typically lasts about 28 days,” says Dr. Harper. “In our follicular phase of the menstrual cycle—which is the first half—women have more of the hormone estrogen.”
Estrogen is the female sex hormone responsible for egg production and reproductive processes. “Estrogen gives us more energy, it’s more uplifting when it comes to mood and it repeats mid-cycle because of ovulation,” she says.
Progesterone is then released in the second half of the cycle. “Then we have high levels of progesterone—this is called the luteal phase of the cycle,” says Dr. Harper. “Knowing where your menstrual cycle causes variations in your hormones can help us understand our bodies and how to best manage them during different phases of the cycle.”
So what symptoms do hormones cause?
During menstruation, hormones can cause lots of problems – some of the most common symptoms include:
– PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
– mood swings
– menstrual cramps
How can diet and lifestyle help?
“Your lifestyle can have an effect on hormone levels and a Western sedentary lifestyle – with an over-processed diet – can cause fluctuations in insulin (a hormone produced by your pancreas) and your blood sugar levels, which That can then affect energy and mood,” explains Dr. Harper.
“Living a stress/anxiety-free life and managing our environment by making it less stressful can reduce hormone fluctuations that can make us feel restless,” she says.
But it’s not just your lifestyle that can have a direct impact on how you feel, your diet – and how much you exercise – can affect your hormones too. “Having a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle can help improve hormonal health and balance,” says Dr. Harper. “Regular exercise can affect your hormones by improving blood flow and circulation to your brain, heart and muscles, and trigger the release of happy neurotransmitters that will help reduce anxiety and boost mood.”
Her top tips? “Make sure you have plenty of vegetables (such as broccoli and dark greens including kale), fruit and omega three oils – as these all aid metabolism, help manage appetite, reduce stress levels and provide energy. Cutting down on refined sugary foods can help maintain our hormonal balance and eating based on the Mediterranean diet will also help support our bodies.
Do I need to have hormone tests?
“The only time to consider getting your hormones tested is if you feel too high and it’s not just your female sex hormones, it’s things like your thyroid that are sometimes overactive,” says Dr. Harper. Or may be less active. “An underactive thyroid can make you feel tired, gain weight, and be flat in mood. An overactive thyroid can make you feel anxious, give you palpitations, and give you loose bowels—so really Any time to test your hormones is when you don’t feel yourself.
best apps to track hormones
Understanding your period—and the fluctuating hormones—can tell you more about yourself than you might think. By tracking your period, you’ll know when you’re about to get yours, when you ovulate and when you might be suffering from certain symptoms. Here are some of the best period tracking apps to help you feel a little more in control…
Clue is a period-tracking app that helps you track your cycle length and observe recurring patterns so you can discover how your hormones affect things like mood, skin, and energy levels. The app also enables you to set calendar reminders for your period, PMS, ovulation, or birth control pill, and can help you figure out whether your cycle can be considered irregular or regular.
Hugely popular, Flow tracks your period, predicts future cycles and helps you understand which days of the month you are most fertile, your peak ovulation days, PMS symptoms, flow intensity and birth control. It also sends you daily notifications with symptoms you might experience, so you can feel better prepared.
FitrWoman also tracks your menstrual cycle, but it’s targeted more towards athletes and women who exercise a lot. The app helps you understand how and why changing hormone levels physically affect your body during your menstrual cycle, so you know when to push yourself during training, when to prioritize recovery and how to optimize your performance at each stage of your cycle.
The Balance app tracks your periods (if you have them) and is a menopause-specific app for tracking menopause symptoms, changes, and patterns — pay attention to your moods and log the medications you’re taking. It also includes a wealth of evidence-based information to help you become better informed, prepared and empowered during both perimenopause and menopause.
Eve (by the team behind Glow) includes easy sex and health logging, an interactive cycle tracker for period tracking, cycle trend detection, and reliable information on safe sex. There is also a community of women who openly talk about everything and anything that you previously considered very taboo, which include; Orgasms, sex toys, masturbation and relationships.
discover Vichy Neovadiol Skincare (opens in new tab) Boots for Perimenopause and Menopause and at your local pharmacy. Talk to your GP or pharmacist for symptom guidance and support.